Note: This Article is Spoiler-free
While Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy has undoubtedly set a precedent in the realm of comic book movies for years to come, and are some of my favorite movies, it did not embrace the “comic” aspect of Batman, instead opting for a grounded, realistic take on Batman. I think this is a mistake. While Batman has always been a staple of the DC Universe because he is relatable, and only human, he exists within a greater Universe where Gods walk among men. The only way Batman can figure into Batman vs. Superman and the all but confirmed Justice League is if he is greater than human. For this rebooted version of the Caped Crusader to be successful, Batman must be as much of a detective, strategist and intellect as he is an expert fighter. This is why I believe Ben Affleck must take inspiration from the Arkham series. To me the Batman created in these games is the definitive version of The Dark Knight, dark and gritty, but not confined to reality. This version of the hero would translate well to the big screen, while also ushering audiences from The Dark Knight into a Justice League movie. It would work as the perfect transition from realism to embracing the fictitious, while maintaining the principles that define the Dark Knight.
Embrace the Supernatural in a Mature Way:
While the Arkham Series has its share of Outlandish Creatures, it approaches them in a way that is not campy, but feels natural. Similar to the introduction of Superpowers on Arrow, the supernatural element in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City feels grounded and plausible. The superpowered individuals in Batman’s rouge gallery (and subsequent allies in a Justice League Movie) should be handled with care and in a mature, believable way. In Arkham Asylum when Batman first encounters Killer Croc, the character is terrifying, and threatening. There is no way Batman can be successful in an expanded DC Universe and fight alongside Aliens and Goddesses, if the writers do not embrace the unfathomable. The creators of the Arkham games don’t dwindle on how these creatures can exist, but instead ask the player to accept that there are some aspects of this universe that are not within the realm of possibility.
An Intelligent Batman:
As aforementioned, I love The Dark Knight Trilogy, but in many respects the movies were not faithful to the comics. The main aspect I thought was lacking from Christopher Nolan’s Trilogy was Batman’s intelligence. Bruce’s intellect and role as a strategist make him essential to the Justice League, and these were the elements which I felt the Nolan trilogy were sorely lacking. With the inclusion of Lucius Fox in the Dark Knight Trilogy, his intellect overshadowed that of Batman. While Bruce is a skilled fighter, Lucius is the “brains” of the operation. Batman has many allies in the Arkham games, but it is evident to the player that Bruce is extremely intelligent and mentally superior to his peers. This is a trait Ben Affleck’s counterpart must share with the Batman of the “Arkhamverse.” Batman’s greatest weapon is his intelligence and this is why he can go up against villans like Clayface and Killer Croc as well as stand his own against other members of the Justice League. He is always steps ahead of his adversaries, determining their weaknesses and exposing them.
World’s Greatest Detective:
Batman, (having debuted in Detective Comics), is considered the World’s Greatest Detective. In the Arkham series this aspect is portrayed perfectly, as Batman must set up crime scenes, analyze and review evidence, and use his intellect to follow up leads and piece everything together. While Batman did do some detective work in the Nolanverse, (namely studying his villains to determine their motivation), the Batman in the Arkham series feels like a detective. Even during combat, players must use “detective vision” to analyze a room of enemies, using the shadows to their advantage, picking off enemies one by one.
The Arkham Games have created an atmosphere akin to the Dark Knight Trilogy. This version of Batman is gritty and realistic, embracing the darker side of the Caped Crusader. The game designers are spot on with the characters in the Universe, most notably Kevin Conroy’s Batman and Mark Hamill’s Joker. The voice actors embody their roles, making the characters come to life. One area where I believe The Dark Knight excelled and Man of Steel did not, was in creating villains which posed not only a physical threat, but a mental threat. The Arkham games also exceed in this area, as the Joker poses a threat to Batman’s sanity. A villain which is as much of a much of a mental threat as he is physically is not a force to be reckoned with, and is a defining feature of Batman’s rouge gallery. Batman and Joker are the epitome of rivals because Batman is calculated and logical, while Joker is random and unpredictable. This makes him a real challenge to The Dark Knight as Batman cannot understand his madness. Bane in Arkham Origins is also a mental rival to Batman. He is not stripped of venom (as he was in the Dark Knight Rises) and this makes the character more interesting as he must deal with the aftermath of this drug. Therefore the Arkham series does a great job of creating fleshed out interesting villains which stay true to the source material and pose a mental threat for the World’s Greatest Detective.
Create a Greater Batman Universe:
Another way the Arkham Series succeeds is in creating a vast work which feels alive. Cameos and references to smaller characters from the Batman-Universe expand the world and act as fan service to the comic-faithful. The Arkham Games are not afraid to introduce the gamer to lesser known villians while also satisfying non comic book readers, with fan favorites taking front and center. The game gets so much right creating rich characters and a suspenseful plot. The stories in all of the Arkham games have been magnificent, with appropriate twists and tension, which enthrall the player and develop the characters. The stories do not feel isolated, acknowledging what has come before while not shoving it down the players throat (in turn making them feel stupid). Batman and Superman seems to be on the right track, as Batman as been described as a “seasoned crime fighter.” The games feel like they exist in a world rampant with characters from the comics.
Translate Well to the Big Screen:
Almost every aspect of the Arkham Games would translate well to the big screen. From the dark, gritty tone to the detective work and enticing stories, those involved with Batman and Superman should take note. Other aspects like the Batsuit and Batman’s gadgets are perfect for the big screen. The developers aren’t afraid to embrace the source material, but create a balance between being “comic-booky” while also functional. This would act as a perfect way to both follow and differentiate from the Dark Knight Trilogy. This version would not be grounded in reality, but find a balance between realism and believability while not abandoning the comic-book counterpart.
Therefore I believe Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman should take heavy influence from the Arkhamverse. The Batman from the Arkham games is the definitive Batman, combining his intellect, detective prowess and role as a strategist that make him an essential member of the Justice League. The games depict the darker side of the Caped Crusader, making them a perfect way to appease those who enjoyed the Nolan Franchise, while also embracing the Supernatural aspect of the DC Universe.
Note: I realize there is a similar Article (Included below). I apologize for any similarities between the two.